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Dementia in Football Research Study

Last updated: 12.53pm, Thursday 23rd November 2017 by

PFA Scotland welcome the appointment of Dr Willie Stewart and Hampden Sports Clinic to lead an independant research study into the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease in ex-professional footballers.

Following two years of research and development The FA and the PFA have today confirmed the next step in their commitment to commissioning an evidence-based study into the long-term effects of participation in football. This new study, titled ‘Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk’, is scheduled to start in January 2018.

The appointment of the research team, led by Dr William Stewart, was made by The FA Expert Panel in Concussion following an open tender process to agree the parameters of the new independent research. Dr Stewart and colleagues in Glasgow have extensive research expertise in brain injury, public health and sports medicine.

They have been tasked with conducting studies to address the question: 'Is the incidence of degenerative neurocognitive disease more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population?'

The study is designed to look at a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, including neurodegenerative disease, in approximately 15,000 former professional footballers and compare these results to matched general population health data.

Fraser Wishart, Chief Executive of PFA Scotland said: “We are delighted with the news that Dr Willie Stewart, Hampden Sports Clinic and Glasgow University have been appointed to lead an independent research study into Dementia in Football.

“It is a very emotive subject which, at the moment, raises more questions than answers so it is clear that indepth research by celebrated experts in this field such as Dr Willie Stewart and his team is very much needed.

“We were aware of, and fully supported, the application and look forward to working closely with Dr Stewart and Hampden Sports Clinic on the 'Football's Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk' Project. We have a meeting with our colleagues at Hampden Sports Clinic in a couple of weeks to discuss the role PFA Scotland and its members can play in this vital research.

“The issue of dementia and football was raised by members of our Management Committee and discussed at length at a recent meeting. It is a subject of great interest to our members, past and present, and they fully support the research project and our future involvement.”


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